Brazen, Bull & BS litigation: Who said Tyranny enablers lack a sense of humour?

January 15, 2009


brazen adj. 1 flagrant and shameless; insolent. 2 made of brass

– Canadian Oxford Dictionary

Torture is a technology of tyranny.

The message is intended for those foolhardy enough to think of resisting a tyrant’s wishes.

It is the affect on the majority not the tiny numbers of actual victims. Torture creates a prison without bars and there are both physical and psychological types of torture.

William Blake suggests that lies and deceit:  forges fetters for the mind.

Brazen Bull was a form of torture that was popular for a few centuries that I was not aware of.

The story seems to start in Greece with an artisan called Perillos who proposed a new method of controlling the mob to Phalaris, the tyrant of Sicily. Perillos, the ambitious craftsman:

…cast a bull, made entirely of brass, hollow, with a door in the side. The condemned were shut in the bull and a fire was set under it, heating the metal until it became “yellow hot” and causing the person inside to roast to death.

So that nothing unseemly might spoil his feasting, Phalaris commanded that the bull be designed in such a way that its smoke rose in spicy clouds of incense. The head of the ox was designed with a complex system of tubes and stops so that the prisoner’s screams were converted into sounds like the bellowing of an infuriated bull. It is also said that when the bull was reopened, the scorched bones of the remains shone like jewels and were made into bracelets.

It seems Phalaris (who allegedly ate suckling infant children) liked the invention a lot but wanted to have it tested. Perillos, ever the ambitious servant, hopped right into the device and true to reputation…

… Phalaris immediately locked him in, and set the fire…

Perillos believed he would receive a reward for his invention; instead, after freeing him from the bull, Phalaris threw him from the top of a hill, killing him.

The lesson here is that anyone that invents new ways to enable tyranny, should not expect either laurels or a quiet death at a ripe old age.

It appears to have taken the lives of some martyrs, notably Saint Eustace (and family), Saint Antipas and Saint Pelagia of Tarsus in 287.

The website HowStuffWorks fleshes things out a bit:

  1. the victims usually had their tongues cut out first (better audio?),
  2. as things heated up, the occupant thrashed about which mimicked  a bull’s movement (visual as well as audio),
  3. the improved movement and sounds gave  great amusement for the audience, while
  4. distancing themselves from the brutality of the torture (reduced cognitive dissonance), and in the spirit of continuous improvement
  5. the device became more sophisticated.

This form of torture was similar to being boiled alive but the without the visible fuss. A party game like Pin the Tail on the Donkey.

Lawsuits are simply there to provide an illusion of remedy (pretense of remedy) which is not without entertainment value to a decaying empire’s elite.

I’m junk but I’m still holding up this little wild bouquet

January 13, 2009


I’ll miss newspapers when they’re gone.

McLuhan said you didn’t read a newspaper, you step into one, like taking a bath.

President-elect Obama will be visiting Canada soon. The Toronto Star reports that CBC Radio is holding a poll to select some songs to give to the President as a gift from all Canadians (CBC shuffles Obama’s iPod).

Here’s one of our best. A quirky, abridged version but Is it possible to to hear too much of The Voice?

I love the country but I can’t stand the scene.
And I’m neither left or right
I’m just staying home tonight,
getting lost in that hopeless little screen.
But I’m stubborn as those garbage bags
that Time cannot decay,

I’m junk but I’m still holding up this little wild bouquet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Democracy, Leonard Cohen

It’s coming through a hole in the air,
from those nights in Tiananmen Square.
It’s coming from the feel
that this ain’t exactly real,
or it’s real, but it ain’t exactly there.
From the wars against disorder,
from the sirens night and day,
from the fires of the homeless,
from the ashes of the gay:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It’s coming from the sorrow in the street,
the holy places where the races meet;
from the homicidal bitchin’
that goes down in every kitchen
to determine who will serve and who will eat.
It’s coming to America first,
the cradle of the best and of the worst.
It’s here they got the range
and the machinery of change
and it’s here they got the spiritual thirst.

It’s here the family’s broken
and it’s here the lonely say
that the heart has got to open
in a fundamental way:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

I’m sentimental, if you know what I mean
I love the country but I can’t stand the scene.
And I’m neither left or right
I’m just staying home tonight,
getting lost in that hopeless little screen.
But I’m stubborn as those garbage bags
that Time cannot decay,
I’m junk but I’m still holding up this little wild bouquet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate

Unused verse:

It ain’t comin’ to us European-style,
Concentration camp behind the smile;
It ain’t comin’ from the east
With its temporary feast
As Count Dracula comes strolling down the aisle. (source)

The Fixer: Getting professional thieves out of Trouble

January 6, 2009

fixtweedProfessional criminals have always relied on  The Fixer.

He is someone of high political, economic and career influence who solves a professional thief’s problem for a fee.

Secrecy and deceit are required because of the extra-legal nature of some of the work.

A historical example of The Fixer would be  William M. (Boss Tweed) Tweed of Tammany Hall. [see above]. Tammany Hall, likened often to a machine, ruled the City of New York from 1790 to to the 1960s.

People wonder why franchisors, franchise bankers, sales agents, the franchise bar, etc. can get away with [almost] bloody murder. A study of history of professional thievery can provide some hints:

The professional thief generally has a record in the Bureau of Identification as long as your arm, but after most of the cases “dismissed” or “no disposition” is entered. This is due to the thief’s ability to fix cases.

In order to send a thief to the penitentiary, it is necessary to have the co-operation of the victim, witnesses, police, bailiffs, clerks, grand jury, jury, prosecutor, judge, and perhaps others. A weak link in this chain can practically always be found, and any of the links can be broken if you have pressure enough. there is no one who cannot be influenced if you go at it right and have sufficient backing, financially and politically.  p. 82

Professionals within franchising make more money by fixing problems (sabotaging valid claims) than they do by solving them (reducing opportunism). It’s that simple: Less money is deducted from the theft when you fix a case, even after paying The Fixer’s fee. It is very easy for a franchise legal expert to lie to complaining investor [Credence good cheaters]. The lawyer knows that he is not under any legal duty to tell the truth until a solicitor-client relationship is created. And the proof is in the pudding: In 10 years, I know of no franchisee-lead case that would be considered a success by the investors themselves.

The fixer acquires his position with professional thieves by service. He tries to maintain a batting average of one thousand. Not all of them can do this, but their record is so good that the thief feels secure if a regular fixer is on the case. [Blonger, the Denver fixer for confidence men, had the reputation of not having one man sent to prison in twenty years under his protection.] p. 88

Modern franchising runs on political and economic influence. Our Australian friends are simply the latest who have been wised to that reality. Again, from the past:

Fixing is a mixture of finance and politics. It is primarily a financial transaction, bought and paid for by everyone concerned. But it is made possible by politics and often involves political favors as well…For the thief, fixing is almost always a financial transaction…from the point of view of coppers, clerks, and bailiffs, fixing is primarily a financial transaction…The prosecutor and judge are probably handled with more finesse.  p. 98-9

I have already used a tree as an analogy for Big Franchising (vast weight of organism is below ground: iceberg). Modern franchising has a visible and invisible nature (Overworld :: Underworld):

From the point of view of the fixer, also, this is a financial transaction. One fixer said to a thief: “Everything I get is bought and paid for, just as you pay me. No one gets any political or other favors.” The fixer can operate only if he has the consent and good will of those who are politically powerful. he may get a start on the basis of old friendships, but he can keep his position as fixer only if he kicks in. He must turn over to the political barons the larger part of what he gets from the thief, and his standing is determined by his reliability in dealing with them. p. 100

Thieves of nominally independent corporations (ie. franchisors, lenders, sales agents, legal, supply, etc.) would NEVER act with such arrogance if it were not for The Fixer’s protection racket. The weakest link is always the franchisee who 99% of the time goes away thinking they had a one-off bad luck with a cartoon-character type of franchisor thief. They are satisfied to receive 10% of their own money back and remain in silence via shame and contract. Professional franchising practitioners are, however, experienced and shrewd students of human nature.

No thief ever expects to have the bad luck to run into a case that cannot be fixed in some manner. This conclusion is not formed because of he thief’s conceit but because of his knowledge of the weaknesses and limitations of the average citizen and public official. p. 106

National franchisor associations act as a forum for coordinating Overground and Underground activities. The Fixer usually enjoys a very influential role such as Chief Counsel or Chairman of the franchisor controlled association. The Fixer is a lawyer because solicitor-client privilege harbours his clients’ extralegal activities. Politicians who are very often lawyers, know their political career is short and are not foolish enough to destroy their future legal earnings by crossing a mandarin partner of the some of the most influential and aggressive internationally-based, multi-line law firms.

It is sometimes believed that he fixer is the general boss of the thieves. This is an error. The function of the fixer is to get thieves out of trouble, not to control them. He often gives some advice to out-of-town professionals, after agreeing to take care of them. p. 107

The Fixer runs a monopoly on the most lucrative and industry-challenging cases [national, well-funded franchisees group or class-actions) while allowing the tactical fixing to happen to Tier 2 law firms who are seen as franchise experts within the franchise bar. The Fixer operates a protection racket that has the appearance of a law practice.

There is in every large city a regular fixer for professional thieves. He has no agents and does not solicit and seldom takes any case except that of a professional thief, just as they seldom go to anyone except him. The centralized and monopolistic system of fixing for professional thieves is found in practically all the large cities and many of the small ones. p. 87

Source: — The Professional Thief, Chapter 4: The Fix, The University of Chicago, 1937 [my emphasis]

I am at a serious disadvantage when discussing the subterranean nature of franchising. I am not a member of that brotherhood and have only caught glimpses of behavior that has piqued my interests over the years.

  • Professional thieves and modern franchise executives function in a similar way, in so much as they are primarily profit-making activities that need to manage risks and returns, under stealth.

They are highly energetic, charming, some exceptionally well-educated people who hold 2 conflicting ideas in their heads: They know they prey upon society but also want not to be an enemy of the state (which as profiting from crime, they surely are).

  • This internal, unresolved conflict (cognitive dissonance) accounts for their bullying, arrogant, irritable, defensive and plain mean behavior. They can’t ever quite buy their acceptance into respectable society.


  1. possess highly migratory and portable special skills (especially persuasion, and communication),
  2. rely primarily on on-the-job training (often passed down from father to son, mentorship, tutelage),
  3. are highly congenial and supportive of other professional thieves (including competing trademarks, are compelled to warn and bail out even those they personally dislike),
  4. steal in a full time, planned and methodical manner,
  5. converse privately in a highly-specialized language (argot: legalese, mumbo-jumbo)
  6. achieve recognition for competence from other peers (who you know is important),
  7. operate in a very rigidly adhered to code of behavior, and [above all else]

8. particularly loathe anyone that (a) would inform “squeal,” or “squawk” and/or (b) has yet to lose their integrity.

They inhabit a modern version of The Waste Land or purgatory. Their only defense is confusion and attempting to degrade those impertinent enough to hold up a mirror to their face.

Pickpocket signs & Disclosure Docs: The same outcome

January 5, 2009

Disclosure documents are the fraudulent sales agent’s best friend.


  1. give the [to me, intentionally designed] false impression that some body in authority is overseeing franchising (note the federal agency’s logo, illusion of relevant information, see Robert Cialdini, Authority as “Weapon of Influence”) and
  2. identifies very efficiently and early the sucker’s major source of ignorance and fear (the obstacle the predatory member of the selling mob needs to overcome to close the sale).

Pickpocketing (or “the cannon” in professional thievery lingo) usually consists of two, three or four people working in a mob (a group of experienced specialists). It is an ancient underworld art that has been profitably practices for centuries. It relies on distraction, manual skill and very close cooperation between specialists within the criminal group.

The operation consists of 5 basic steps:

  1. Fanning: determining which pocket the wallet is in,
  2. Pratting the sucker: pushing the mark (intended victim) around gently in order to distract his attention and to get him into a good position for the next operations, (usually done by the “stall”, sometimes by faking drunkenness),
  3. Put the Duke: someone else the “hook, wire, or tool” puts their hand (“Duke”) into the victim’s pocket and removes the poke (wallet),
  4. Cleaning: the hook then transfers the wallet to another member of the mob who
  5. Stashing: takes the wallet off-site so if the next mark objects, the whole day’s take isn’t at risk.

A “Beware of Pickpockets” sign is very helpful to pickpocket professional thieves because:

…whenever a sucker sees this sign he feels the pocket in which his money is located to discover whether his pocketbook is still there, thus relieving the mob of the necessity of fanning him [see Step 1, above].

The Professional Thief: An astonishing revelation of criminal life, The University of Chicago Press, 1937

Disclosure documents assist opportunistic sales agents in a similar way. They not only trade on false authority but provide an efficient means of defining the next mark’s fears.

  • Defining a sucker’s fears goes a long way toward getting the chump to sign.

Disclosure laws have never been designed to protect potential investors and they are emphatically not a step toward Relationship Laws.

Disclosure and relationship laws are McLaws (intentionally ineffective) in protecting investors’ interests against the major ROI threat: future franchisor opportunism.

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.

January 2, 2009

Upton Sinclair (1878 – 1968) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning prolific American author who wrote over 90 books in many genres and was widely considered to be one of the best investigators advocating socialist views. He achieved considerable popularity in the first half of the 20th century.


He gained particular fame for his 1906 novel The Jungle, which dealt with conditions in the U.S. meat packing industry and caused a public uproar that partly contributed to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act in 1906. Wikipedia

I aimed for the public’s heart, … and by accident I hit it in the stomach.

Sinclair’s 1927 novel Oil! was the basis of the 2007 movie There Will Be Blood , starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano. The film received eight nominations for an Oscar, and won two.

Other Quotes

You don’t have to be satisfied with America as you find it. You can change it. I didn’t like the way I found America some sixty years ago, and I’ve been trying to change it ever since.

The private control of credit is the modern form of slavery.

The American People will take Socialism, but they won’t take the label…Running on the Socialist ticket I got 60,000 votes, and running on the slogan to ‘End Poverty in California’ I got 879,000. I think we simply have to recognize the fact that our enemies have succeeded in spreading the Big Lie. There is no use attacking it by a front attack, it is much better to out-flank them.

Fascism is capitalism plus murder.

The methods by which the “Empire of Business” maintains its control over journalism are four: First, ownership of the papers; second, ownership of the owners; third, advertising subsidies; and fourth, direct bribery. By these methods there exists in America a control of news and of current comment more absolute than any monopoly in any other industry.

American capitalism is predatory, and American politics are corrupt: The same thing is true in England and the same in France; but in all these three countries the dominating fact is that whatever the people get ready to change the government, they can change it.

Class System: Aware it’s a rigged Game (yes or no)?

December 29, 2008

rouletteThere are two types of people within the business format franchise industry:

  1. those that know [have awareness] that franchising is a con game that pays out like a crooked roulette wheel [pre-determined payoffs to maintain the illusion of a level game] or
  2. those that think it has primarily to do with franchisee hard work, pre-sale due diligence, etc.

The complication is that Class #1 include:

  • control next to 100% of billions of investments,
  • allies of the greatest authorities in every country and internationally (ie. the state, banks, franchise bar, etc.),
  • legions of graduates from the world’s best universities (education must mean adherence to the truth, right?),
  • the most handsome (and therefore presumed good),
  • and have all the trappings of financial success (which #2 assumes that they will be successful by association).

The few former #2 who have become traitors to Class #1 (ie. aware but not profiting from the status quo) and are stilll talking are cranky, paranoid, broke, rude and cynical.

An accurate observer, however, concludes the following: Financial failure or success in business format franchising is mostly luck.

  • But you get a chance to pull the slot machine’s arm, right? Make you feel luckier, doesn’t it?
  • It re-distributes wealth; it has long since stopped creating wealth [90% of the time this statement is 100% true; the 10% where it is false has nothing to do with skill, it has to do with luck).

There are winners but, despite the spin, they have the skill involved in picking the winning lottery ticket. Don’t tell me about the 30 year McDonald’s franchisee: they don’t make those agreements anymore.

BS Differentiating Characteristics

1. Intelligence: Notwithstanding the name-calling, those that lose at franchising are often the smartest ones in the orientation class. The ones forced to the wall often are the ones that realize the game, after they sign and try to rally the troops. Communication skills, persistence, credibility and curiosity are the a sure ticket to franchise bankruptcy.

2. Lack of Adequate Pre-sale Due Diligence: simply an excuse for industry apologists using hindsight bias to force silence via shame. Believe me I’ve met lots of “successful” franchisees who did zero due diligence. Everyone admits that DD is impotent against franchisor opportunism which is played out in 1,001 seemingly random ways.

3. Laziness: Franchisees work like hell and only usually collapse when they hit their own personal wall of mental, physical and financial limits. It takes a long time to learn this foreign language (franchise jargon).

4. Most success is within Franchisee’s means to Control: Almost all of the decision making is taken via the franchise agreement. Tough to argue both sides of an argument at the same time (ie. Franchisee is 100% responsible while franchisor has 100% control of assets). So one-sided that some franchise agreements have been declared an employee:employer relationship by U.S. state Courts and labour departments.

5. Deceit, Gag Orders, Shame, PR, Failure to Acknowledge: Why does the industry spend so much time controlling information (gag orders, use of shame, SLAPPs, 3 Wisemen on Blue MauMau, counterspin, undue legislative influence, lobbying, etc.) when they could simply commission credible academic research to prove that franchising is a legitimate business?

Their failure to fund (which they can clearly do) and hand over information to independent researchers indicates that they want to suppress [not advertise] independent, verifiable, accurate success rates. They are, in a sense, judged guilty by the actions that they choose to avoid.

  • #1 know that their dominant position is fueled by a crap shooting machine, at best.

That you have yet to join that class, speaks of your level of awareness. That’s all.

  1. Persist and continue to ask very simple questions and you will have your eyes opened. And you can teach everyone in your family, too. [Each person knows 250 people so they say and that there are only 6 degrees of separation between all of us on this planet.) OR
  2. Refuse to challenge the conventional wisdom, and continue to be cannon fodder (and descendants) for V2.0.1 of the next scam.

Your choice.

Argot: words in the secret service of a subgroup

December 29, 2008

whisper1. argot n. the jargon of a group or class, formerly especially of criminals Canadian Oxford English dictionary

2. argot noun – (plural argots)

  1. A secret language or conventional slang peculiar to thieves, tramps, and vagabonds.
  2. The specialized informal vocabulary and terminology used between people with special skill in a field, such as between doctors, mathematicians or hackers; a jargon.

Example:  The conversation was in the argot of the trade, full of acronyms and abbreviations that made no sense to the uninitiated.

  1. (secret language): cant, jargon, slang
  2. (specialized vocabulary): jargon Wiktionary

The recurring themes that I see are:

  • secrecy [need to conceal from others],
  • language at the service of self-interest,
  • degree of criminality although not necessarily (ie. see list of drug world argot, prison argot, Prostitution-related jargon),
  • words with multiple meanings (to insider versus outsider, uninitiated),
  • enables credentialing for evaluating new potential ingroup members, and
  • allows connecting and linking diverse user groups, networks and markets, all around the world.

Franchising argot is a communication system widely understood among Big Franchising’s participants, yet it is largely hidden from mainstream culture. A necessary prerequisite to support modern franchising as a confidence game.

There is a need for a language resource to translate franchising words into plain English. I have started by defining terms and collecting examples of industry behavior in the Information Sharing Project.

  • My next contribution will be to write a dictionary of franchise terms.

A book similar to Fowler’s Modern English Usage: a style guide to explain mom-and-pop franchise investing. A doubter’s dictionary.

All franchising franchises franchising.

June 30, 2008

Think about it.

This is a rip-off of one of Marshall McLuhan’s many great quotes or aphorisms: All advertising advertises advertising. As an English professor he knew a few things about the power of words.

The main ideas of franchising are duplicatability, repeatability and conformity.

  • Notice how much it resembles a machine or a printing press or software.

Franchising is primarily a software program written by specialized commercial lawyers and implemented by franchisors and their interest groups.

The source code and its off switch cannot be accessed by mechanical means. The concrete structures of franchising (bricks & mortar) conceal this fact and our human tendency to rely too much on the visual or concrete that tricks us into believing its permanence.

  • This is why the “solution” to the problems in franchising are not to be found in the experts (ie. sellers, the Law, the Courts, the Legislatures or the Regulators.) These are are obsolete industrial, paper-based technology.

Demonstrating how dead franchising is will be proven by a few contrarians at their PCs scattered around the globe: Those who have had the experience [as TS Eliot would 1/2 say] of being zzzapped.

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